Amritsar. February 19, 2011: Singh Sahib Giani Gurbachan Singh, the current religious head of Sri Akaal Takhat Sahib, the supreme religious authority of the Sikhs, based in Amritsar, Punjab, India has given a special message to all Sikhs all over the world to plant a tree on March 14, 2011, in honor of Guru Har Rai, who became 7th Sikh Guru on March 14, 1644.
In his directive, Giani Gurbachan Singh said: The Gurmat (teachings of the Sikh Guru teachings) describes air as the Guru, water as the father and the earth as the mother and has told us to respect and take care of these three elements. I, hereby, from Sri Akal Takhat Sahib, while congratulating all the followers of Guru Nanak around the world on the occasion of GurGaddi Diwas of Sri Guru Har Rai ji, appeal that every Sikh should plant at least one sapling on this auspicious occasion and attain blessings of Sri Guru Har Rai Ji by celebrating this day as ‘Sikh Environment Day’ and wish that the Khalsa Panth remain at spiritual heights.”
He added: “The EcoSikh organisation has taken up March 14th, 2011 Guru Gaddhi Diwas (day of enthronement) of Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib Ji, to be celebrated as “Sikh Environment Day”. Sri Guru Har Rai Sahib is remembered in Sikh history for his deep sensitivity to nature and its preservation. The efforts of EcoSikh to celebrate this day as ‘Sikh Environment Day’ are very appreciable. The Creator God has created a vast variety of flora and fauna to maintain ecological balance on this earth. Whenever we try to modify creation, it loses its balance and we face disastrous earthquakes, floods, droughts etc. It is because of this disturbance in the ecology that environmentally sensitive people in the world are celebrating Environment days throughout the world.
He reminded people of the message of the Sikh Gurus. “Confirming the presence of the Creator in His creation, Guru Nanak said: “Baleharee Kudrat Vasiya”, which means, I am a sacrifice to Your almighty creative power which is pervading everywhere. And the Second Guru, Guru Angad, said: “Pavan Guru, Pani Pita, Mata Dharat Mahat !!”, which means “Air is the Guru, Water is the Father, and Earth is the Great Mother of all”.”
Giani Gurbachan Singh was appointed as Jathedar in 2008, after serving 37 years as a Sikh religious preacher. His last appointment was as Head Granthi of Sri Harmandir Sahib, the Golden Temple.
Dr. Rajwant Singh, convener of EcoSikh from Washington, thanked Giani Gurbachan Singh and said: This is an important step forward for Sikhs to show our passion to save the environment and the message from Akal Takhat will inspire many Sikhs all over the world to become eco-warriors. This will be an implementation of Guru Har Rai ji’s teachings.”
Guru Har Rai is known to have been a great humanitarian who had special sensitivity towards nature preservation and the well-being of animals. He maintained an extensive herbal garden for medicinal purposes for the benefit of the masses in Kiratpur Sahib, his birthplace and his spiritual centre near Anandpur Sahib.
EcoSikh has received confirmation of participation from dozens of Sikh institutions in India and abroad already in this initiative to celebrate March 14th and hopes many more will join. SGPC, Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee, Chief Khalsa Diwan, Amritsar, and many Sikh institutions have joined this initiative. EcoSikh has also launched a website (www.ecosikh.org) for gurdwaras and Sikh institutions to register their participation internationally. Ecosikh has also appointed two staff members, agriculture engineer Ravneet Pal Singh in Punjab, India and Yale University environmental science post-graduate Bandana Kaur in NewYork to help co-ordinate this global campaign.